How do they get away with it?
They get away with it because the civil service hasn't bothered to train IT experts of its own, or to create jobs that would attract industry experts into the service.
As a result we have a civil service that is a soft target, and successive governments that seem to have no idea about what's going on when it comes to IT contracts. You don't have to be an IT expert to guess that a spend of £12billion on a computer system for the NHS probably needs a bit of looking into, or that spending £3500 on PCs that could be bought off the shelf in PC World for under £1000 each is a ludicrous waste of public money.
Now, as if it's something to be immensely proud of, we hear the coalition government boasting about the fact that it has "called a halt to schemes costing more than £100 million" One hundred million pounds? I would call a halt to schemes costing more than £10 million until each one has been thoroughly examined by a group of independent experts.